Duke History professors have published notable and award-winning books on topics including comparative military history, gender in plantation households, the development of British imperialism, changing ideas of sexuality in colonial Latin America, and race and religion in West Africa, among other topics. Here's a sample of books by departmental authors in the last five years.


Marrow of Tragedy - Margaret Humphreys

Humphreys, Margaret - Marrow of Tragedy: The Health Crisis of the American Civil War

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013

The Civil War was the greatest health disaster the United States has ever experienced, killing more than a million Americans and leaving many others invalided or grieving. Poorly prepared to care for wounded and sick soldiers as the war began, Union and Confederate governments scrambled to provide doctoring and nursing, supplies, and shelter for those felled by warfare or disease.

The Sleep of the Behemoth - Jehangir Malegam

Malegam, Jehangir - The Sleep of Behemoth: Disputing Peace and Violence in Medieval Europe, 1000-1200

Cornell University Press, 2013

Malegam explores the emergence of conflicting concepts of peace in western Europe during the High Middle Ages. After 1000, reformers in the papal curia and monks and canons in the intellectual circles of northern France began to reimagine the Church as an engine of true peace, whose task it was eventually to absorb all peoples through progressive acts of revolutionary peacemaking. Peace as they envisioned it became a mandate for reform through conflict, coercion, and insurrection.

Western Civilization - Kristen Neuschel

Neuschel, Kristen - Western Civilization: Beyond Boundaries (7th Edition)

Cengage Learning, 2013

Europe's place in the world throughout the narrative and in the primary source feature, "The Global Record." The reconceived narrative and restructured organization, featuring smaller, more cohesive learning units, lend to greater ease of use for both students and instructors.

Bull City Survivor - Simon Partner

Partner, Simon - Bull City Survivor: Standing Up to a Hard Life in a Southern City

McFarland, 2013

This book recounts the postwar history of one of the South's fastest-growing communities through the eyes of one of its most disadvantaged residents. In the process, the book attempts to shed light on the social and economic conditions that led to the murder of Emma's son, one of 25 to 30 people (many of them African American young men) who fall victim to gun violence each year in Durham.

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Bonker, Dirk - Militarism in a Global Age: Naval Ambitions in Germany and the United States Before World War I

Cornell University Press, 2012

At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States and Germany emerged as the two most rapidly developing industrial nation-states of the Atlantic world. The elites and intelligentsias of both countries staked out claims to dominance in the twentieth century. In “Militarism in a Global Age,” Dr. Dirk Bönker explores the far-reaching ambitions of naval officers before World War I as they advanced navalism, a particular brand of modern militarism that stressed the paramount importance of sea power as a historical determinant. 

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Dubois, Laurent - Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

Henry Holt & Company, 2012

Maligned and misunderstood, Haiti has long been blamed by many for its own poverty. But as Dr. Laurent Dubois makes clear, Haiti's troubled present can only be understood by examining its complex past. The country's difficulties are inextricably rooted in its founding revolution — the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world; the hostility that this rebellion generated among the colonial powers surrounding the island nation; and the intense struggle within Haiti itself to define its newfound freedom and realize its promise. Dubois vividly depicts the isolation and impoverishment that followed the 1804 uprising. He details how the crushing indemnity imposed by the former French rulers initiated a devastating cycle of debt, while frequent interventions by the United States — including a twenty-year military occupation — further undermined Haiti's independence. 

Power to the Poor - Gordon Mantler

Mantler, Gordon - Power to the Poor: Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974

The University of North Carolina Press, 2012

Mantler, a lecturing fellow and associate director in the Thompson Writing Program, writes about the Poor Peoples Campaign, an attempt to get poor folks from across the nation and racial lines to join together for common cause.

The Foundations of Modern Terrorism - Martin Miller

Miller, Martin - The Foundations of Modern Terrorism: State, Society and the Dynamics of Political Violence

Cambridge University Press, 2012

In a study of the history of terrorism, integrating the violence of governments and insurgencies, history professor Martin Miller considers why it is that terrorism has become such a central factor in our lives despite all the efforts to eradicate it.

The Making of Romantic Love - William Reddy

Reddy, William - The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia and Japan, 900-1200 CE

The University of Chicago Press, 2012

Reddy, a professor of history and cultural anthropology, contrasts the dualism of love and desire in the Western tradition with the blending of both in Bengal and Orissa, India, and in Heian Japan.

Two Latin Cultures Foundation of Renaissance Humanism - Ronald Witt

Witt, Ronald - The Two Latin Cultures and the Foundation of Renaissance Humanism in Medieval Italy

Cambridge University Press, 2012

Witt, a professor emeritus of history, traces the early emergence of humanism in northern Italy in the mid-13th century to the development of a lay intelligentsia in the region, whose participation in the culture of Latin writing fostered the beginnings of the intellectual movement which would eventually revolutionize Europe.

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Dubois, Laurent - Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France

University of California Press, 2011

When France both hosted and won the World Cup in 1998, the face of its star player, Zinedine Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, was projected onto the Arc de Triomphe. During the 2006 World Cup finals, Zidane stunned the country by ending his spectacular career with an assault on an Italian player. In Soccer Empire, Laurent Dubois illuminates the connections between empire and sport by tracing the story of World Cup soccer, from the Cup's French origins in the 1930s to Africa and the Caribbean and back again. As he vividly recounts the lives of two of soccer's most electrifying players, Zidane and his outspoken teammate, Lilian Thuram, Dubois deepens our understanding of the legacies of empire that persist in Europe and brilliantly captures the power of soccer to change the nation and the world.

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Hall, Bruce - A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1900

Cambridge University Press, 2011

This book traces the development of arguments about race over a period of more than 350 years in one important place along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert: the Niger Bend in northern Mali. Using Arabic documents held in Timbuktu, as well as local colonial sources in French and oral interviews, Dr. Bruce S. Hall reconstructs an African intellectual history of race that long predated colonial conquest, and which has continued to orient inter-African relations ever since.

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Krylova, Anna - Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front

Cambridge University Press, 2011

Soviet Women in Combat, the 2011 winner of the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association, explores the unprecedented historical phenomenon of Soviet young women's en masse volunteering for World War II combat in 1941.  For the next four years, more than one hundred thousand women in their late teens and early twenties shared combat with men, serving side by side and sometimes above them, as their commanding officers.  Rather than reducing the story of Soviet women in combat to a narrative of desperate emergency on the Eastern front, Krylova asks how Stalinist Russia, reputedly a patriarchal society, managed to merge notions of soldierhood and womanhood first into a conceivable and then realizable agenda for the cohort of young female volunteers and for its armed forces.  

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Sigal, Peter - The Flower and the Scorpion: Sexuality and Ritual in Early Nahua Culture

Duke University Press, 2011

Prior to the Spanish conquest, the Nahua indigenous peoples of central Mexico did not have a notion of “sex” or “sexuality” equivalent to the sexual categories developed by colonial society or those promoted by modern Western peoples. In this innovative ethnohistory, Pete Sigal seeks to shed new light on Nahua concepts of the sexual without relying on the modern Western concept of sexuality. Along with clerical documents and other Spanish sources, he interprets the many texts produced by the Nahua. While colonial clerics worked to impose Catholic beliefs -- particularly those equating sexuality and sin -- on the indigenous people they encountered, the process of cultural assimilation was slower and less consistent than scholars have assumed. Sigal argues that modern researchers of sexuality have exaggerated the power of the Catholic sacrament of confession to change the ways that individuals understood themselves and their behaviors. 

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Stern, Philip - The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India

Oxford University Press USA, 2011

The English East India Company's 1757 victory over the forces of the nawab of Bengal and the territorial acquisitions that followed has been perceived as the moment when the British Empire in India was born. Examining the Company's political and intellectual history in the century prior to this supposed transformation, Dr. Philip Stern’s “The Company-State” rethinks this narrative and the nature of the early East India Company itself. In this book, Stern reveals the history of a corporation concerned not simply with the bottom line but also with the science of colonial governance. 

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Chafe, William - The Unfinished Journey: America Since World War II, 7th Edition

Oxford University Press, 2010

This popular and classic text chronicles America's roller-coaster journey through the decades since World War II. Considering both the paradoxes and the possibilities of postwar America, William H. Chafe portrays the significant cultural and political themes that have colored our country's past and present, including issues of race, class, gender, foreign policy, and economic and social reform. He examines such subjects as the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the origins and the end of the Cold War, the culture of the 1970s, the rise of the New Right, the events of September 11th and their aftermath, and various presidencies.

The Goddess and the Nation - Sumathi Ramaswamy

Ramaswamy, Sumathi - The Goddess and the Nation: Mapping Mother India

Duke University Press Books, 2010

Making the case for a new kind of visual history, The Goddess and the Nation charts the pictorial life and career of Bharat Mata, “Mother India,” the Indian nation imagined as mother/goddess, embodiment of national territory, and unifying symbol for the country’s diverse communities. Soon after Mother India’s emergence in the late nineteenth century, artists, both famous and amateur, began to picture her in various media, incorporating the map of India into her visual persona.

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Edwards, Laura - The People and their Peace: Legal Culture and the Transformation of Inequality in the Post-Revolutionary South

University of North Carolina Press, 2009

In the half-century following the Revolutionary War, the logic of inequality underwent a profound transformation within the southern legal system. Drawing on extensive archival research in North and South Carolina, Dr. Laura F. Edwards illuminates those changes by revealing the importance of localized legal practice. Edwards shows that following the Revolution, the intensely local legal system favored maintaining the "peace," a concept intended to protect the social order and its patriarchal hierarchies. Ordinary people, rather than legal professionals and political leaders, were central to its workings. 

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Lentz-Smith, Adriane - Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I

Harvard University Press, 2009

For many of the 200,000 black soldiers sent to Europe with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, encounters with French civilians and colonial African troops led them to imagine a world beyond Jim Crow. They returned home to join activists working to make that world real. In narrating the efforts of African American soldiers and activists to gain full citizenship rights as recompense for military service, Dr. Adriane Lentz-Smith illuminates how World War I mobilized a generation. Black and white soldiers clashed as much with one another as they did with external enemies. Race wars within the military and riots across the United States demonstrated the lengths to which white Americans would go to protect a carefully constructed caste system. 

The Mayor of Aihara - Simon Partner

Partner, Simon - The Mayor of Aihara

University of California Press, 2009

Aizawa Kikutarõ (1866-1963) was born into the wealthiest family in Hashimoto, a small agricultural village specializing in wheat and silk. By 1925, the village was undergoing rapid commercial development, residents were commuting to factory and office jobs in cities, and, after serving as mayor for almost twenty years, Aizawa was working as a bank manager. Taking the biography of this leading villager as its central focus and incorporating intimate details of life drawn from Aizawa's diary, The Mayor of Aihara chronicles the extraordinary transformation of Hashimoto against the background of Japan's rapid industrialization. By portraying history as it was actually lived by ordinary people, the book offers a rich and compelling perspective on the modernization of Japan.

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Robisheaux, Thomas - The Last Witch of Langenburg: Murder in a German Village

W.W. Norton and Company, 2009

A young mother dies in agony. Was it a natural death, murder-or witchcraft? On the night of the festive holiday of Shrove Tuesday in 1672 Anna Fessler died after eating one of her neighbor's buttery cakes. Could it have been poisoned? Drawing on vivid court documents, eyewitness accounts, and an early autopsy report, Dr. Thomas Robisheaux brings the story to life. Exploring one of Europe's last witch panics, he unravels why neighbors and the court magistrates became convinced that Fessler's neighbor Anna Schmieg was a witch-one of several in the area-ensnared by the devil. Once arrested, Schmieg, the wife of the local miller, and her daughter were caught up in a high-stakes drama that led to charges of sorcery and witchcraft against the entire family. Robisheaux shows how ordinary events became diabolical ones, leading magistrates to torture and turn a daughter against her mother. In so doing he portrays an entire world caught between superstition and modernity

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Glymph, Thavolia - Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household

Cambridge University Press, 2008

The plantation household was, first and foremost, a site of production. This fundamental fact has generally been overshadowed by popular and scholarly images of the plantation household as the source of slavery's redeeming qualities, where “gentle” mistresses ministered to “loyal” slaves. “Out of the House of Bondage” recounts a very different story. The very notion of a private sphere, as divorced from the immoral excesses of chattel slavery as from the amoral logic of market laws, functioned to conceal from public scrutiny the day-to-day struggles between enslaved women and their mistresses, subsumed within a logic of patriarchy. One of emancipation's unsung consequences was precisely the exposure to public view of the unbridgeable social distance between the women on whose labor the plantation household relied and the women who employed them. This is a story of race and gender, nation and citizenship, freedom and bondage in the nineteenth century South, a big abstract story that is composed of equally big personal stories.

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Humphreys, Margaret - Intensely Human: The Health of the Black Soldier in the American Civil War

Johns Hopkins University, 2008

Black soldiers in the American Civil War were far more likely to die of disease than were white soldiers. In Intensely Human, historian Margaret Humphreys explores why this uneven mortality occurred and how it was interpreted at the time. In doing so, she uncovers the perspectives of mid-nineteenth-century physicians and others who were eager to implicate the so-called innate inferiority of the black body. In the archival collections of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, Humphreys found evidence that the high death rate among black soldiers resulted from malnourishment, inadequate shelter and clothing, inferior medical attention, and assignments to hazardous environments. While some observant physicians of the day attributed the black soldiers' high mortality rate to these circumstances, few medical professionals — on either side of the conflict — were prepared to challenge the "biological evidence" of white superiority. Humphreys shows how, despite sympathetic and responsible physicians' efforts to expose the truth, the stereotype of black biological inferiority prevailed during and after the war. 

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Korstad, Robert and James Leloudis - To Right These Wrongs: The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America

University of North Carolina Press, 2008

When Governor Terry Sanford established the North Carolina Fund in 1963, he saw it as a way to provide a better life for the "tens of thousands whose family income is so low that daily subsistence is always in doubt." Illustrated with evocative photographs by Billy Barnes, To Right These Wrongs offers a lively account of this pioneering effort in America's War on Poverty. Robert Korstad and James Leloudis describe how the Fund's initial successes grew out of its reliance on private philanthropy and federal dollars and its commitment to the democratic mobilization of the poor. 

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